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>> good evening welcome to the arizona historical society program director public-relations-- publicati ons and we're here this evening to welcome jeff guinn author of "the last gunfight" the real story of the shootout at the o.k. corral - and how it changed the american west" author of
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the recent best seller go down together. we would like to start off the conversation and this evening with the question of what is on everyone's mind in the room. there basically three iconic events in the history of the west of the imagination one of those is custer's last in the other is the alamo in the other is the gunfight at the o.k. corral. why? do we really need another book at the o.k. corral? >> guest: why we need another book, the reviews so far they were written by critics do not consider
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themselves expert of tombstone or the gunfight or the american frontier. all claiming it is a book of revisionist history by which they mean it is shocking to them that these things in the book are fact. one reviewer said he was stunned to learn that the battle did not occur in the okay corral but in a vacant lot yards away. i think we can thank bill breckinridge -- breckinridge and others for that but trying to write later about the gunfight it does not have the same ring throughouthroughou t history. [laughter] and people also seem to be astonished instead of talking about cardboard cutout participants but real human beings in good qualities and losses.
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everyone seems staggered that tombstone may have been anything other than an a dusty hamlet. the fact there are so many intelligent readers but it
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would be helpful to tell us what type of day town it was back then. >> guest: i am willing to bet if i asked the sacred character in my cast by the time i finish a they may not guess it was the town of tombstone itself. it is such a firebrand place sophisticated not just 10 but boone town but towns all over the country. it has shops that you would see on the streets of san francisco. gourmet restaurants. for a few dollars you could have the miele that would rival anything you would eat in new york city. the theater offering world-class entertainment, even a few telephones linking the mine exchange building. in the town fathers started to put in a sewer line.
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this is a place that simply is not a given its proper credit in a lot of the films and essayist. it was much more than a given the credit just like the history of southeast arizona and of the american frontier is much greater than people realize this. >> host: the other backdrop is politics and they know if at the very least they are complex in sometimes we think border issues are insoluble but when you read the book you will discover the border issues go back as far as we can imagine. our politics today don't have anything from 1881. give us an idea of the
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setting that was top-rated it would help to set the tone of the book. >> the border issues to begin with were very real, extended come and intense. it was certainly fell to the trading between the americans and mexicans is something we would want the bandits on both sides preyed on merchants. there was a catalyst that a lot of people think it was one-sided that the cowboys faction running to mexico would raid indiscriminately but there also mexican bandits who came north over the rio grande. it is fair to say that somebody back from the texas ranger museum in the wake of texas, it is a wonderful place of great history and if you read the reports
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about the rustlers from texas not because they were stealing mexican cattle but a great deal of discrimination against mexicans in the southwest. they did not think that was a crime to take their stock. politically but earps represented the republicans and -- in who wanted law and order to be firmly in place. because they thought it was the best way to attract outside investors. at the same time the small ranchers who were not just represented by the clayton-mclaury who migrated west because of reconstructions offended them so much wanted to get away from government oppression, freed to be their own lives as they chose.
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when we simply switch the political parties around today, you can see the themes we made with us as well as well as the ethnic prejudice. >> host: it may seem strange budget it also struck me in reading your body and clyde book. but the family values play a big role in what occurs. i wonder if you can trot out the relationships that occurred and what the family meant in this story. with the three sets of brothers. and that added to the mix.
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>> guest: when you are on the frontier, when you were trying to run a business or a ranch, everybody else in the area to a certain extent was a competitor. it was hard to know who you could trust, who would not be true you, that is why family was so important and critical. the clerk brothers were not loyal to each other and dedicated and insults on one was the attack on others but that is also true of the clintons and mclaury. you trusted your family and you defended your family. sometimes you may be too prone to defend them but leeza of the relationships that were important out there. in a place where you are struggling to create yourself in the great words of fred know when, his story
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and where men could still dream of 50 coming in part of that dream is to have your family there with you. right or wrong to be at your side and always trusted. >> it almost defies it because they are so polar opposites but yet to the gunfight may not have occurred but it is doc holliday. how do explained that connection? >> guest: speaking four everyboby in the room who is a writer or researcher common meaning speaking for everybody in the room pretty much. [laughter] we live for those think you jesus moments. [laughter] where this explains it. one of the things that puzzled me my first target
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to write the book is how is it quieter in doc holliday our friends? they should be. by -- wide is trying to move up in the world by impressing his social superiors he is straitlaced in believes in law-and-order. that doc holliday had done something to save his life. finding in buydown look after meeting a collector of memorabilia march had in his
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possession the original notes taken by engineer john flood from one of the earlier attempts at a memoir. they are good for any number of reasons if nothing else the match up of what he is writing in detail again stuart clayton would write coming you could see it is riveting as he goes to present certain things to have the greatest impact. but taking copious notes on the explanation of how he became friends with doc holliday and we were able to put that in the book. according to why it coming he is in dodge. doc holliday, who wins an acquaintance but not a warm friend is gambling on main street where why it intercepts texans and
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celebrating a little too hard. but then determine they will not be in at -- arrested in turned on earp. doc holliday, sitting in a saloon playing cards sees this through when you enter ups the game borrows the keep done in russia's onto the sidewalk catches them by surprise and holds them at gunpoint while why it can collect himself and make the arrest. he told john from that moment i became a true and lifelong friend of doc holliday. sable you will of either of these men. and people have a lot to say but they were faithful friends to each other and stuck with each other in times and circumstances when they would not have done that. that is a great attribute.
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>> host: there is another fascinating character when i first came to this job my predecessor showed me a letter he received in the 1930's when he was working on billy king tombstone and word got out it was a biography of quiet herb and received a letter saying he had done the adequate job and she chose no further booktv written about her husband. but how does josephine fit into the next? >> the most fascinating thing about josephine is she was such a world-class a nag aware that it is hard to know, if anything, was true or not. that is why she is so much fun.
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in modern terms, this is a woman who require a high maintenance. [laughter] she was a german to control her husband's image and willing to do whatever she had to do to make it happen. sears is a manuscript and a product of two women relatives trying to pry enough good stuff out of her to get a book published. it had been passed around on the research community. in than controlled by the four county historical society in dodge city kansas. i have gone up there with permission for the man who made the donation and i have
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studied those manuscripts and i came away absolutely certain that josephine was full of it. [laughter] much of what you see in my book is gathered from other public records and documents and says it makes many statements lurk questionable of josephine was here right now should be sobbing and throwing yourself on her mercy to be protected by an evil outsider buy me who only wants to make him look bad. and make her look bad. when it comes to the fact she did not need anybody's help to make herself look bad. [laughter] a wonderful writer is currently at work and i have
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great faith that when the next book comes out i hope you will snap up -- snapped it up and we will learn a lot. the actual gun fight it step by step fashion that seems inevitable and a total accident that makes sense and you get to the final moment and you have what seems to me the moment that guy eight imagine custer had when he got on top of the bridge to see that when travis realize nobody came to save him at the alamo how did that the event have been? >> something was bound to happen.
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but four of versailles agreed there was too much tension and mistrust. but james earp said he thought there was pressure put on virgil by the townspeople that none of this would have occurred. i like virgil a lot and ended of feeling sorry for him. i think he tried to be the good lawman. in the eyes of the average 10 man the fight at the o.k. corral but it seems to me they were bumped into the background virgil wanted to be a lawman was very pragmatic and preferred to give people a chance to back away without in harassing them or have their pride
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intact. he did his best to let the cowboys settle down and cried out of town than finally felt he called on those he trusted most common his two brothers than there was also $0, they you would never miss an occasion like this. it was a terrible tragedy this happened if things had happened differently year virgil have not been approached, it is quiet and tom mclaury did not have their attempts and those walking through the okay corral meeting to leave town but not too fast because they didn't want the onlookers to think the earps had backed down to make them leave, in the number may have prevented this but even
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so something would have happened soon to seven you may assume that the gunfight lead earps had done what the town wanted them to do in they would be he rose. that didn't have been in what does that tell us about tombstone? >> guest: that is when his zero crap moment was collective came the day after the gunfight instead of being recognized as he rose which they were expecting, you have 2,000 mourners turning out for the billy clayton-mclaury funeral procession. the tombstone leaders lean forward, by the way one of the wonderful things about historians is they don't think it is wrong to have a different opinion looking at the same set of facts that is what encourages discussion rather than argument.
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i have learned so much from him. what was i talking iraq? it has been a long day. [laughter] the town fathers did not consider that earps their =. very useful, tools to do certain functional things after the gunfight public opinion began to sway looking like it was going against the earps then the town leaders think they may not like how this turned out in in the earps were disposable. in then they came to present that when they realize that. >> host: i want to quote this, but why it legacy was limited to on culpable memories of the minor bond sherry who overstepped with
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particularly violent regrettable ways. hi audrey get from that to all brian? [laughter] >> the way history is remembered quite often is the way the general public decides the way they want it to happen. at the turn of the 20th century there is great intensified interest. you have teddy roosevelt writing popular books and assert 10 lifestyle and also riding magazine articles about the heroes that he rode with including wyatt err. the silent movies, the cowboy traumas presented as we get into the depression, it is a complicated in a scary time and what to think things were simpler if there was
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evil, a good the guided and eradicated it. from there we have the talkies and the movies of the forties and fifties. some of us are old enough to remember do remember every second tv show was black and white cowboy drama? i wanted to be the lone ranger. [laughter] that it was the evolution of what we wanted to believe happened. the then the movies. don't forget to that tombstone was more popular in the movies that a wider ban josephine is doing everything she can can, threatening lawsuits don't sell his image but the seed retry stewed duck behind something when someone was shooting at him. josephine never would have docked. it grew because it is what
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people wanted to believe the in the sad thing is, the truth, the way he really was, not as a saint or career criminal. not of the western lawmen or every bit as bad as the cowboys but we realize natural human being and not a cardboard cutout and they become real, then the history becomes real. don't all of us here in our own way think it is important to use the fax rather than fiction? because when presented with enthusiasm and context, almost inevitably are better than the myth. >> host: you cannot get away with saying something
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changed the american west without explaining what you mean. i have to call you on the subtitle. >> guest: call may what? [laughter] i have always wanted to say that. [laughter] of what happened at the o.k. corral had to specific changes when short-term and one less dramatic. it has surprised so many leaders and reviewers already that the earps and doc holliday art deciding if they should be tried for murder then they are indicted for murder. this is a message in the american west, a la men have to answer in court for their
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actions if they are not legal and men claiming to avenge a tax cannot take a lot into their own hands and the greater weight that changed was the perception of the american west. today and agreed ago week without a politician or a football coach who said it was just like being at the o.k. corral. that is part of our national vocabulary. people use it to demonstrate that the west and of the front year was a simple black and white place. it wasn't. the history is so rich in complex in multi dimensional that is given short shrift.
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the more we write books not the first or the alaska much tries to give context to help readers that understand things that really have been. for the benefit is greater understanding. what is the sense of reading a book if you are not learning something? i learned so much for 18 this book. i hope readers, they will want to know more to turn to the work of others. then i say that is something that contributed to the change that needs to come. >> host: many of us realize on this particular topic, research can be a full contact sport. it is surprising to say we
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ought to be a family of historians. what do you mean by that? >> i don't think family is always get along baidu think we all have to realize that it is not so much that we compete with each other but we ought to be complementing each other. "the last gunfight" is a book with my name on it and i hope that i wrote it well. i spent a couple of years of full-time research going all over the country to find new things and ferrets things out to bring new conclusions and concepts. but we would not write a book like this without standing on the shoulders of other people who have been doing great and honorable and unrecognized work. but yet without these people, people like me, i do
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not write our books at all. it is a program with those in the room to speak to that to close down that part of the program because i am sitting up here but also beside so many people. when you talk about those too on selfishly research and devote themselves to learn things to help the rest of us understand better , there is tom, who says keep laughing. but he also keeps sharing his research. and ike led me on a wonderful walk on the desert where i sat on barbwire. [laughter] also scott i am in gratitude for his contributions to my book and a puncture marks in my but.
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[laughter] and todd, the only man who could possibly help me to understand the intricacies of frontier lot. jim. to help me to track down the army lieutenant and never asked why it mattered because once he started to look he was interested himself with zero of the chase. linney? who knows more of the history of this area? all of his work is so much to us. the owners of one of the greatest collections of memorabilia in this country and shared unselfishly with anybody who asks. there are people who are not here tonight but in our hearts or books. gary, what i am writing this book he makes the think you
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jesus discovery. the original newspaper article showing after wyatt the merck was arrested for four stuffed in his youth, he did not walk away on bail but he had broken out of jail and was technically of fallin for the rest of his life. gerry called me and said i know you're writing this book but this is interesting. use in your book. think about that kind of generosity. in come up off, and also and being a shy and timid lady the first remark is if we do all the work why do you write to the book? [laughter] and pam, a great lady in texas to knows more about frontier with men than anybody i have ever seen.
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although charge me for using the picture of doc holliday i am still grateful. jeff. a man who is so generous with his knowledge and doesn't get half the credit he deserves, ben, who said to be the first time i will tell you everything it you need to know then told me of the sale of all of the books he had been for a stack of his books $100 today only in still grinning when he pocketed my check. [laughter] at os zero researching so much property to see what the taxes were, bob were, bob, johnny, i defender for life and bob is a great example of how he can disagree with someone.
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and jim donovan who does of a wonderful book about the belt of the alamo and paul and michel marks and a special man i still haven't met to buy it to people that all of us should recognize for their contributions even though there is controversy may be deservedly but let's credit them for the things they have given us. karl and glenn, some of the people who'd contribute the most to not necessarily do their researcher writing themselves but make it possible for the rest of us. i wanted him to read my manuscript because i knew he would give me a fair in
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objective opinion of what we needed to do better. there is a special woman named christine and under her direction, from lake county recorder's office it is where anybody ought to start. i hope i have learned from all of these folks and it is a gesture. i am contributing all of my research material, am i notes, interview transcripts, document copies, everything that went into the last gunfight to the arizona historical society so the next person can have immediate access to everything that i had. [applause] this is what i would like for you to applaud. i make this contribution in honor of bruce and christine. [applause]
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>> i am having a moment here but time is limited. the last unsung hero of a great friend of writers. look. a hero. with the conclusion, i did not write a book without everybody else's help and let's all work together and when we do that, everybody benefits and most of all those in the history we believe is so important. thank you. >> nice place to rapid up where you could ask them to come up to the microphone to the point* where everybody has a chance. >> dividend valley herb said
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wyatt earp was robbing stage is instead of keeping law and order? and who killed john a. lingo? [laughter] >> who planted this will meant? [laughter] >> to answer the first one, there is a question if valley said many things that frank waters reported that she said. i think there were some tensions certainly and did he probably exaggerate? i think that is a fact. because i frankly don't trust what watchers wrote come i cannot rely on that. who killed the jon lingo? somebody. maybe yibin john lingo himself little mystery in history is okay.
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>> on the subject of josephine i was intrigued by referring to wider bad as her husband but there is no impression that there was never a legal marriage. can you speak to that? >> guest: certainly. of lot of marriages on the frontier were common-law where there was no legal ceremony and frankly all of the power they with the man rather than the woman when they got tired of it, it was dissolved there was no legal basis. wyatt earp i believe was married wants in his youth and in between him and josephine there were two common-law wives. i use the term has spent it as the term of the frontier of, but you are correct i don't believe there was a
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legal union. >> you look familiar. [laughter] do you have a favorite movie about the than five? can you comment on the strengths and weakness -- weaknesses of the various movies? >> guest: my favorite o.k. corral film is the "star trek" episode. [laughter] i still love that one. all the films that have been made have been popular with entertainment value. moller recently tombstone tried to stick closer than the wider film but whether they stuck to the facts to see this as more interesting than the mythology i cannot name monday at that i could think of a great candidate. >> cahal democrat and the epitah
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was republic 10. the political tensions were carried out in print and contributed of great deal to the hostile atmosphere between the two parties but a lot of people thought that is how politics was supposed to be played. but of course, you try to use innuendo. why would you? if they work? >> >> congratulations on an excellent book. all of this stoving into everything, i want to know
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what you think of quieter? another rather said he has been shaded but what do you think of the guy? >> i think why it herb was a man of his time and in those times, they tried to make a living to establish themselves operating on both sides of the law. i do not think he was a st. or he was evil. i think he was a flawed human being who made good decisions in plenty of bad ones. i did not find myself disliking him. i don't find myself wanting to put a pin-up of him on my wall. but he was a interesting man >> host: thing to.
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i know jeff is exhausted but he would be glad to sign books over there. it doesn't come down very often but we have our collection of memorabilia of quiet herb on display going back into the ball to right after this. i don't know when you will see it again. take the time to look at that in think you. you have a treat when you read this book. >> thank you for coming everybody.
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>> i will mention a book that i just finish which is the autobiography called infidel by a somali in born woman brought up been the war-torn area and lived in several african in middle eastern countries and finally escaped to holland and political asylum and actually of member of parliament. she was involved in a real controversy based on a movie that she and a man named ceo produced about the harshness of islam in the way it is swept under the rug of western countries. in being assassinated end
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under protective custody but the basic premise of the book is a number one, the countries that you observed in africa in the middle east are being held back buy a their religion of islam, particularly because of the harsh treatment of women not allowing 50% of the population to reach their full potential. also, the western country such as holland, by accepting the extreme version of walt biculturalism are encouraging radical fundamentalist islam to take hold to be a part of the western democracy.

Book TV
CSPAN July 17, 2011 10:00pm-10:45pm EDT

Jeff Guinn Education. (2011) Jeff Guinn ('The Last Gunfight The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral- and How It Changed the American West.')

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 11, Josephine 6, Texas 4, Holliday 4, Alamo 3, Virgil 3, Christine 2, Earps 2, Leeza 1, Miele 1, Earp 1, Clyde 1, Sears 1, John A. Lingo 1, Jon Lingo 1, Karl 1, Unsung 1, Ben 1, Gary 1, Linney 1
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on 7/18/2011